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The Origins of Satyagraha

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									Mohandas „Mahatma‟ Gandhi
1. Indian traditions of   2. Gandhi in South Africa
  nonviolent protest:

 Hinduism                 Was Satyagraha born
 Jainism                   in South Africa?
 Buddhism                 How successful was it?

 Nonviolent protest in
  the Kathiawar region
 The Bishnois
 Benares in the early
  19th century

Himsa (violence)

Ahimsa (non-violence)

Hinduism takes no clear stance on ahimsa.

-According as one acts, so does he become. One
  becomes virtuous by virtuous action, bad by bad
  Yajur Veda, Brihadaranyaka Upanishad 4.4.5

Bhagavad Gita
-   Sanskrit poem consisting of 700 verses
-   a philosophical dialogue between the God Krishna
    and the warrior Arjun

Clearer guidelines in Jainist teaching
5 principles of morality
  -   Ahimsa
  -   Satya (truth)
  -   Asteya (nonstealing)
  -   Brahmacarya (celibacy)
  -   Aparigraha (nonpossession)

  As the means to attain Moska (liberation).

Nonviolence forms the core of Buddhist

 „Evenif thieves carve you limb from limb
 with a double-handed saw, if you make your
 mind hostile you are not following my
Kamcupamasutta, Majjhima-Nikkaya I ~ 28-29

                                              Western Traditions

Henry David Thoreau, Civil Disobedience
 Cited refusal to pay taxes as an important political
 Boycott

Leo Tolstoy, The Kingdom of God is Within You
 Need for individuals to act according to their
 Followed the doctrine of nonviolence when faced
  by conflict
 Valued the ideals of chastity

                                        The Bishnois
Bishnois [Twenty-Nine]
 “Jeev Daya Palni” (be compassionate to all living
 “Runkh Leelo Nahi Ghave” (do not cut down green
1778 Khejarli
 Bishnois forest fiercely protected by the villagers
 Amrita Devi and her three daughters hacked to death
 363 Bishnoi killed in total
 The king made all cutting of green trees and hunting of
  animals illegal within the borders of Bishnoi villages

A painting of the 1778 massacre

             The Kathiawar Region
Dharna - sitting and fasting at the doorstep of
    an offender until death or until the
    demand is granted

Carita - fasting or inflicting wounds

Dhandak - march to see the monarch

                                   Civil Disobedience and Noncooperation

„The fact is that, in India, the nation at large has generally used
  passive resistance in all departments of life. We cease to
  cooperate with our rulers when they displease us. This is our
  passive resistance‟, Gandhi, Hind Swaraj, p. 60.
Benares 1810
 Series of new taxes for homes and shops
 To be collected every 3 months
 If it was not paid, the authorities would take the belongings of
  the occupant and sell them for the amount owed
 „I am given to understand that considerably above 20,000
  persons are sitting (it may be called Dhurna) declaring that
  they will not separate till the tax shall be abolished‟

                                     Civil Disobedience and Noncooperation

1.    Closing of all shops
2.    Large numbers of people continually sitting in dhurna and
      saying they would not move until the tax was removed
3.    Close link of artisans and craftsmen with the protest
6.    Protestors bound together by oath to never disperse
8.    Individuals from every class
11.   Protest posters about the streets
Dharampal, Civil Disobedience and Indian Tradition, pp. L-LI

                                      David Arnold, Gandhi-Principles in power

South African Years 1893-1914
   Devised his satyagraha technique
   Deepened his acquaintance with Hinduism as well as
   First experimented with communal living and jail-going
   Adopted celibacy
   Began to lose faith in the British empire

Gandhi studied at University College London 1888-1891.
1891 South African population
 41, 000 Indians
 47, 000 Europeans
 456, 000 Africans

1904 population in Transvaal
 11,000 Indians
 229,000 Europeans
 945,000 Africans

                                                 Gandhi‟s experience of Racism

   Ejected from the train at Pietermaritzburg station. Despite
    holding a first class ticket
   Refused to remove his turban in a court in Durban.

    „I discovered [in South Africa] that
    as a man and an Indian I had no
    rights. More correctly, I discovered
    that I had no rights as a man,
    because I was an Indian‟. Gandhi,
    CWMG, 23: 115

                               First „passive resistance‟ campaign

Passive Resistance [satyagraha] is a method
 of securing rights by personal suffering; it
 is the reverse of resistance by arms.

- Gandhi, Hind Swaraj, p. 90

                                            Satyagraha 1907-9

First satyagraha campaign 1907-9

 Against the Draft Asiatic Law introduced by General
 Mass meetings, writings in the Indian Opinion, jail-
 Gandhi registered under the act - intensified
  divisions within the Indian community in Transvaal
 Struck by Mir Alam Khan, 10 February 1908
 The act remained in force

GRIEVANCES                         SATYAGRAHA 1910-14

   Act 36 of 1908                    A handful of Satyagrahis
   New legislation in 1913 had        sought arrest
    placed fresh restrictions on      Strike – supported by
    Indian immigration and             between 4000 and 5000 Indian
                                       workers in northern natal
    movement within South
                                       within two weeks
    Africa                            Smut took the policy of non-
   Hindu, Muslim and Parsi            intervention
    marriages were invalid in         Moral advantage – cancelled a
    the yes of the law                 second protest march
   £3 tax on exindentured            Mass arrests
    labourers                         Indian Relief Act

„What must be noticed is that in his concern for Indian
 disabilities he held his people apart from and above
 Africans, to the extent that for Indians to be classified
 and treated as Africans was a basic grievance against
 Europeans law and custom‟.
- Paul F. Power, „Gandhi in South Africa‟, Journal of Modern
  African Studies 7, 3 (1969), p. 445.

David Arnold, Gandhi (Profiles in Power), (Harlow, 2001)
 Anti-Indian prejudice continued


       South Africa important

       •First developing and
       putting into practice his
       ideas on satyagraha
       •Developing his political

       The introduction of the
       Indian Relief Act of 1914
       is still considered to be
       one of Gandhi‟s major
1891                               1914

„It was Mahatma Gandhi's genius and
   indomitable courage and unmatched
   organisational capacity that he could visualise
   and make effective use of instrumentalities
   originally fashioned for internal situations, to
   face alien power‟

Dharampal, Civil Disobedience and Indian
 Tradition, p. LIX.


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